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Ashland man linked to another pharmacy robbery

Ashland man linked to another pharmacy robbery

Ashland police suspect that Saturday wasn't the first time Galen Patrick O'Neill leaped over a pharmacy counter to threaten employees and snatch drugs.

The 24-year-old Ashland man arrested Saturday afternoon on robbery, menacing and theft charges stemming from a robbery at the Talent Medicap pharmacy also has been charged in an Aug. 7 robbery at the Rite-Aid in Ashland, Ashland police said in a news release on Monday.

In that robbery, a man in his early 20s went to the store at 2341 Ashland St. at about 2:45 p.m. on Aug. 7 and jumped over the counter to confront a pharmacy technician. He demanded drugs and grabbed a bottle of oxycodone and methadone and ran from the store.

Witnesses described him climbing into the back of a bluish Suburban driven by a woman.

The vehicle sped away once he was inside.

At around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, a man came into the Medicap pharmacy at 205 N. Pacific Highway in Talent with a scarf over his face.

Employees asked him to remove it and he responded by brandishing a butterfly knife and jumping over the counter to threaten the clerks, Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said. One employee grappled with the man, who forced the workers into a back room.

The robber then grabbed an unspecified amount of narcotics and ran. One of the pharmacy's employees slipped out to get a description and license plate number of the robber's car as the man fled.

With that information, responding officers from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Oregon State Police and the Ashland and Talent police departments, identified O'Neill and went to his trailer home at Siskiyou Village in the 2700 block of Siskiyou Boulevard in Ashland. He was arrested there.

Investigators identified similarities between the two robberies.

After interviewing O'Neill and his 23-year-old girlfriend, Ashland investigators charged him with an additional count of third-degree robbery stemming from that case, Ashland police said.

He was arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court on Monday afternoon on three counts of first-degree robbery. He remained in the Jackson County Jail Monday evening on $1 million bail.

The Jackson County District Attorney's Office will review the evidence against O'Neill and his girlfriend and could add more charges, officials said.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

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